updated 05:00 pm EST, Thu January 6, 2011
Mech-less Parrot Asteroid has Android onboard
Parrot, known for its Bluetooth and audio accessories for vehicles, has brought a new Asteroid head unit to CES. The CD drive-less radio uses a customized version of Google's Android OS and three USB ports in the rear that will allow users to plug in their own USB thumb drives full of music. One of them is reserved for a USB 3G dongle, whose data connection can be used to download new apps approved for use by the device and in cars.
Some of the preloaded apps we were shown included Google Maps, an Internet radio streaming station and fuel price watcher and radar trap warning app: all very useful for drivers. The single-DIN head unit is shallow and also has a 4x55W amplifier built-in. On the right of the face is a 3.2-inch display, while the left side buttons detach for security.
Users will have the ability to connect their smartphones using Bluetooth for hands-free conversations or music streaming, as well as to download apps this way instead of through the 3G or 4G USB dongle. Available apps are still being finalized for each market.
A GPS sensor ships with the unit, and an SDHC memory card slot is hidden behind the detachable buttons and wheel. An iPod/iPhone connector is part of the standard feature set as well. Users will have the ability to navigate their libraries or call up songs by name or artist through voice control thanks to the built-in microphone. Contacts from the phone can be syncronized from the paired handset. No memory is onboard, with all storage coming from the SDHC memory card.
Prices weren't being discussed, but the head unit is expected to arrive mid-year.